, in case you don't want to sit through a commercial), a Super Mario-ish Flash game from Japan, except instead of an Italian plumber, you are a snail. With a mustache. From the fine folks at SKT
. Left click to jump, left click and hold to climb walls, reach the end-of-level ring before the time runs out. Watch the animation before each level to see what new obstacles and enemies are in store.
posted by Gator
on Jul 22, 2006 -
A fascinating series
of Japanese toilet training videos for the very young (duh). Of note, the anthropomorphizing of the toilet, the weird bits of Engrish thrown in, and the remarkably frank approach to the whole messy business.
posted by jonson
on Jul 11, 2006 -
For those who enjoy (or despise) the netubiquitous (Hey! A new word! Feel free to meme it for me. Thanks.) "Engrish"
sites, here, via ctheory, is a more theoretical explanation
of the phenomenon than you're likely to get by Googling "Engrish." (Two million hits and rising!)
posted by kozad
on Jul 10, 2006 -
Gimmie Gimmie Octopus
is apparently a Japanese children's television show from the 1960s.
Yes, it's YouTube, but at least there's no lip synching.
posted by klausness
on Jun 18, 2006 -
The Asian Giant Hornet
is cool, unless it's baked. Japanese honeybees can detect the hornet's secretion and they attack en masse. With approximately 500 honeybees surrounding the hornet in a tight ball, the temperature within the cluster rises to 47 degrees Celsius which bakes the hornet alive.
posted by tellurian
on Jun 8, 2006 -
My earliest memory was when I was three. I had a fever and my mother was wiping a cold wet rag on my body. There were fish swimming in my room, as though I was underwater, but I could breathe just fine. That's why I was surprised to find this
. "The contemporary art in Japan
) is naturally influenced by the world contemporary art. But the power of the Japanese traditions, the oppressive presence of a dense urban environment and the various traumatism undergone by Japan for 60 years (defeat of 1945, Hiroshima, earthquakes, economic crisis, etc.) involve a production very rich
and little known
posted by sluglicker
on Jun 4, 2006 -
Cheap 1.7 million yen toy.
When Keiko Nakamoto of the Ishikawa prefecture came across an old vinyl robot covered in a thick layer of dust, she had no idea that she had unearthed only the third known specimen of an item described by Tokyo toy dealers as "the most sought-after item in Japan." From ToyboxDX [toy robot goodness]
posted by tellurian
on Jun 1, 2006 -
Howard French - Asia photos
Photos from across Asia by Howard French, who works for the New York Times. Includes many photos of the 'Disappearing Shanghai' that is being obliterated by the city's relentless urbanization.
posted by carter
on May 29, 2006 -
Wal-Mart fails in South Korea.
As a student of business and a resident of Asia, I am fascinated by the examples of "foreign" businesses who either succeed or fail in Asian markets. Recently, Vodafone failed in Japan
but in a strange twist has signed a J-V with Softbank
to keep their presence in Japan. eBay failed in Japan
as did Memoirs of a Geisha
. I'd love to have a discussion on the successes AND failures of non-Asian businesses in Asian markets and what, if any, lessons can be taken away for those of us who are in Asian markets or wish to enter Asian markets. (Yes, I realize that "Asia" is too broad of a region but I don't want to limit the discussion to just one nation.)
posted by gen
on May 24, 2006 -
"...this clip of a Japanese show called Gaki No Tsukai stands out not for what it includes, but for what it lacks - talking and screaming. It takes place in a studio made up like a library, with the participants (including Kickboxing champion Ernesto Hoost) stifling their laughter, screams of pain and retching noises, just like any student did in their own junior high school library." [youtube video, text shamelessly lifted from wfmu]
posted by Armitage Shanks
on May 18, 2006 -
Hardcore Gaming 101
has a e-newsletter, but the best things there are the loving introductions to dozens of classic games and game series, all either sadly forgotten or practically unknown to the Western World. Thrill to the serious action of Compile shooters
! Avoid the mocking gazes of friends, roomies and significant others while reading about venerable Konami cute-em-ups Twinbee
! Figure out why the hell so many Namco games have Valkyrie
in them! Try to keep a straight face when confronted with the likes of Ganbare Goemon
, Phoenix Wright
, The Neverhood
, No One Can Stop Mr. Domino!!!
, Urban Yeti
and Segagaga, the Sega Simulator
! Do, uh, something
along with the T&A delights of Keio Flying Squadron
, Popful Mail
! All this and much
, much much more
posted by JHarris
on Mar 29, 2006 -
The tradition of making Japanese dolls
, called ningyo—meaning human figure—goes back as far as 10,000 years to clay figures made during the Jomon period. The more recent rise in popularity, though, is most often traced to Hina Matsuri
--Girls' Day, or the Doll Festival, celebrated on March 3--originating during the Edo period. These antique ningyo
are highly sought after by collectors
, such as the American expert Alan Pate
, who has written a number of articles
on the subject. The modern Japanese doll culture, however, is anything but traditional. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the ningyo tradition was exported to make toys for the West
on MeFi), and has culminated in popular Barbie-type dolls such as Superdollfie
. Contemporary artists have transformed the Japanese doll tradition into something else entirely: Simon Yotsuya
, Ryo Yoshida
, Yoko Ueno
, Mario A.
, Etsuko Miura
, and Kai Akemi.
A number of these artists were featured in the Dolls of Innocence
exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. Of course, notable artists outside Japan have worked with dolls before, including Hans Bellmer
, who inspired much of the artwork in Innocence
, the follow-up to Ghost in the Shell. Explore more:     
. [Several links are nsfw.]
posted by monju_bosatsu
on Mar 24, 2006 -
The Site of Reversible Destiny
is an "experience park" conceived on the theme of encountering the unexpected. By guiding visitors through various unexpected experiences as they walk through its component areas, the Site offers them opportunities to rethink their physical and spiritual orientation to the world. [via
posted by dhruva
on Mar 13, 2006 -
John Coltrane. Thelonious Monk. Hank Mobley. Lennie Tristano. Blue Note. Impulse. Riverside... In other words: jazz. Now three fans in Japan -- a country that has always appreciated America's gift to music even more than the US itself -- have created The Jazz Discography Project
, a bare-bones, open-source, astonishingly exhaustive database of the hippest sounds on the planet. For aficionados, just reading an ASCII entry for long out-of-print stuff like A Message from Garcia
, featuring a young and then-unknown musician named Bill Evans who would later reinvent his instrument
, is thrilling.
posted by digaman
on Mar 1, 2006 -
And suddenly, in my memory, everything turns real: the summer breeze of Izu, the lazy sun of an early afternoon, the stale smell of water standing in the rice fields. For a moment it is that day in 1956, 37 years ago, and I am standing there, 33 years old myself. See—just to the left of the camera, just out of range. Here comes Mifune running, and there stands my younger ghost, right of that pillar, just off screen... And the summer sun beats down and the fresh breeze of Izu bathes my face, and then the story continues and the film ends and the lights go up and the students open their notebooks and I stand up and began talking about the influence of the Noh.
Donald Richie (previous post)
, the worldwide authority on Japanese film, shares his movie memories
posted by matteo
on Feb 1, 2006 -
(Knock, knock) "Candygram!"
We don't know if ZDF has shown early SNL skits
(nostalgic photo here
), but German Greenpeace made a dramatic delivery to the Japanese Embassy in Berlin: a 55-foot-long fin whale that had been stranded in the Baltic. The dramatic gesture underscored the organization's contention that Japan's whaling, long defended as research, is in fact unnecessary: sufficient numbers of beached whales are available for research. The leviathan — 20 tonnes of blubber — was craned onto a truck and driven 150 miles from Rostock-Warnemünde to Berlin, and was due to be returned to the coast for study. (German-language stories on Greenpeace.de website here
, and here
, including logistical details for those curious about arranging their own special deliveries.)
posted by rob511
on Jan 22, 2006 -
Mighty Morphin' Spider Ranger.
In 1978, Japanese company Toei produced a TV show for a live-action version of Spider-Man. It's like
the American version, with just a few small differences, such as Spider-Man gaining his powers from a bracelet given to him by an old man in a cave. Also, he has a giant robot and fights aliens. The entire first episode is viewable online, which has been accentuated with deliberately incorrect subtitles.
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Jan 21, 2006 -
Having a filthy mind, I'm able to come up with several non-medical uses for the Digital Rectal Examination Simulator
. However, when I noticed that the company selling the device was Japanese, I realized that the intended use is most likely as a way to hone your skills away from the arcade for the video game Boon-Ga Boon-Ga
posted by jonson
on Jan 17, 2006 -